The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll

By NoontimeSports.com

Sure, it is the 24th day of June, but football is on our minds. So, let’s keep with tradition from the past two years by unveiling our third annual Noontime Sports Way Too Early New England NCAA Division III Top 20 Poll.

Revisit our previous Way Too Early polls from 2019 and 2020.

This year’s Way Too Early Poll is based on last year’s poll (and somewhat our 2019 poll, too) — we know it will change as we get closer to the start of the 2021 season, so stay tuned for our first official poll at the end of August/early September.

Alright, without further ado, let’s get back to football with our 2021 Way Too Early New England D-III Top 20 Poll!


Noontime’s Way Too Early New England D-III Top 20 Poll (June 23, 2021)

  1. Williams College (2019 Record: 7-2, 7-2 NESCAC): The Ephs were our top team in this poll last year, so let’s see if they remain in this position in a few weeks.

  2. Western New England (2019 Record: 9-2, 7-0 CCC): It’s hard to pick against the Golden Bears, who continue to be the team to beat in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).

  3. Wesleyan University (2019 Record: 8-1, 8-1 NESCAC): Last year, the Cardinals were fourth on our list. This year, they move up one spot — they should be ready to contend with Williams and others once the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football season kicks off in mid-September.

  4. Endicott College (2019 Record: 9-2, 6-1 CCC): The Gulls seem primed for an exciting 2021 campaign under coach Paul McGonagle, who has a former signal-caller on his staff: Joe Kalosky.

  5. UMass Dartmouth (2019 Record: 7-3, 5-3 MASCAC): Quarterback Stephen Gacioch is back for one final season with the Corsairs after an impressive 2019 season.

  6. MIT (2019 Record: 7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers captured the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship in 2018 before sharing it with WPI one year later. They will once again be the team to watch in the NEWMAC.

  7. Framingham State (2019 Record: 8-3, 8-0 MASCAC): Aynsley Rosenbaum will finally guide the Rams for the first time this fall after being promoted to the team’s head coach on January 19, 2020.

  8. Trinity College (2019 Record: 5-4, 5-4 NESCAC): The Bantams will be in the mix for the top spot in the NESCAC this year. That’s a fact.

  9. Western Connecticut (2019 Record: 8-3, 6-2 MASCAC): The Colonials will once again be in the mix for the top spot in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this fall, but will they be able to beat Framingham State and UMass Dartmouth to secure the top spot?

  10. Springfield College (2019 Record: 6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC): Look for the Pride to compete with the Engineers of MIT for the top spot in the conference this fall.

  11. Salve Regina University (2019 Record: 4-6, 3-4 CCC): Get ready for the Joey Mauriello show in Newport, Rhode Island.

  12. Tufts University (2019 Record: 4-5, 4-5 NESCAC): Look for the Jumbos to bounce back this fall after posting just four wins in 2019.

  13. Middlebury College (2019 Record: 9-0, 9-0 NESCAC): After posting the first-ever 9-0 record in NESCAC play, the Panthers will finally have a chance to defend their crown this fall.

  14. WPI (2019 Record: 10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC): The Engineers graduated a slew of talent from their 2019 squad, but have brought in some impressive recruits that should help them compete with MIT, Springfield, and Merchant Marine Academy.

  15. Bridgewater State University (2019 Record: 6-4, 6-2 MASCAC): The Bears won eight games in 2018, but just six one year later. They were competitive — they certainly provided challenges for their conference foes and should find a way to be in the mix for the top spot as their 2021 campaign progresses.

  16. Amherst College (2019 Record: 4-5, 4-5 NESCAC): The Mammoths may have taken a step back in 2019, but you can bet they’ll be ready to challenge the top teams in the NESCAC in a few months.

  17. Nichols College (2019 Record: 6-4, 4-3 CCC): Every year, this team takes a positive step forward.

  18. Coast Guard Academy (2019 Record: 5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC): The Bears did compete once last year — they lost to Merchant Marine Academy last November, but we were able to get a glimpse of some student-athletes to watch this fall.

  19. Husson University (2019 Record: 4-6, 2-5 CCC): Something tells us that these Eagles won’t be on the bottom of our list for long.

  20. Colby College (2-7, 2-7 NESCAC): Keep your eyes on the Mules — Jack Cosgrove will have the Blue and White ready to compete with the top teams in the conference this fall.

Hockey East Announces New Postseason Tournament Format

The Hockey East Association announced on Wednesday a new postseason tournament format. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

Earlier today, the Hockey East Association announced a new postseason tournament format for their men’s and women’s leagues, which will feature every program competing in a single-elimination contest.

The new format for the Hockey East playoffs is set to begin in 2022 and will look similar to what fans witnessed earlier this year, which saw Northeastern University (women’s postseason champions) and UMass Amherst (men’s postseason champions) capture their respective tournament.

“This new format for the Hockey East Tournament gives all of our student-athletes the chance to compete for a championship, which is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the season,” Hockey East Commissioner Steve Metcalf said via today’s release from the conference. “Hockey East is the most competitive conference in college hockey, top to bottom, and this new format will highlight the importance of every game during the season for players and fans alike.”

The 2022 Hockey East women’s postseason tournament will feature all 10 teams for the first time in conference history — the tournament will begin next February 23, 2022, with a pair of opening-round contests, which will be hosted by the seventh and eighth seeds. A few weeks later, the men’s league will begin its postseason with a trio of opening-round tilts with the sixth, seventh, and eighth seed teams serving as the hosts.

Noontime Commentary: Returning To The Microphone

Posing for a photo on the field following the conclusion of the first ABCD Field of Dreams contest.

By Matt Noonan

It was worth the wait.

After a 465 day hiatus, I finally was able to pick up a microphone and lend my voice as a backdrop for a local sporting event here in Massachusetts. And it was an amazing feeling.

Being able to announce this morning’s Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Field of Dreams contest between Massachusetts General Brigham and the Boston All-Stars at Fenway Park was exciting — in fact, it was the most fun I have had on the microphone since I started calling sporting events as a student at Wheaton College (Mass.).

Yes, I have announced this event in the past, along with the organization’s “Hoop Dreams” outing at the TD Garden, but this morning’s contest provided me with a sense of hope and renewal for future coverage in the “new normal” — I am already counting the days until to my next PA announcing gig while circling while plotting my return to the sidelines to cover future college and high school sporting events.

Like many, the past 14-to-15 months was a struggle, both mentally and emotionally — to be honest, I was unsure what I would produce for the blog and podcast when various leagues were sent to the sidelines at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite so much uncertainty, I remained hopeful and optimistic — I knew I would return to the microphone one day, and that day happened to be this morning: Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

It was just one game, but it was the best game that I have announce in 2021.

Chris Hogan Makes His PLL Debut With Cannons Lacrosse Club

Chris Hogan, who won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, made his Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) debut on Saturday with the Cannons Lacrosse Club. (PHOTO COURTESY: ProFootballRumors.com)

By Matt Noonan

The wait to see Chris Hogan play lacrosse concluded this afternoon.

The former New England Patriots wide receiver suited up for the Cannons Lacrosse Club to compete against the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club, which scored an exciting 15-14 overtime victory.

Saturday’s contest marked the second week of the 2021 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) season — the game was held at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Yet, despite not tallying a single goal or an assist against the two-time defending PLL champions, Hogan seemed content after the final whistle sounded that he was able to play the same sport he did as a student-athlete at Pennsylvania State University.

“Honestly, the bus ride over that I had today compared to my first NFL game was the exact same feeling. The exact same butterflies, the exact same nerves, (and) the exact same intensity and focus,” Hogan said following his team’s one-goal setback to the Whipsnakes.

He would go onto say that “I was just excited to be out there with my team and you know try to help them win games — I was just excited to be out there, man.”

Prior to his official start with the PLL, Hogan’s former teammate Julian Edelman shared excitement for his former teammate by quoting a tweet from the league with the following sentence: “Former football player Chris Hogan.”

Hogan and the Cannons will be idle next weekend before returning to the field on Sunday, June 27 when the team competes in its fourth contest of the 2021 season against the Atlas Lacrosse Club. The game will be played at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland.

Cannons LC Force Overtime But Fall To Whipsnakes LC, 15-14

By NoontimeSports.com

John Haus fired three shots during Saturday’s matchup with the Cannons Lacrosse Club with his third goal-scoring attempt being the difference as the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club scored an exciting 15-14 overtime win on Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

With the win, the Whipsnakes, who have captured the last first and second Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) championships in 2019 and 2020, improve to 2-0 overall while the Cannons fall to 1-2.

Lyle Thompson, who previously played for the Chesapeake Bayhawks in Major League Lacrosse, led the Cannons Lacrosse Club on Saturday with four goals. (PHOTO COURTESY: InsideLacrosse.com/Photo by Pretty Instant)

The Cannons, which scored their first-ever PLL victory six days earlier against the Waterdogs Lacrosse Club, extended the game to overtime with an Andrew Kew goal, which was set up by Holden Garlent.

Lyle Thompson attempted to win the game seconds later but his one-handed attempt on the crease was denied by Matthew Dunn, who finished the contest with one caused turnover.

Thompson led the Cannons with four goals while Ryan Drenner recorded a hat trick.

The Whipsnakes led the Cannons, 8-4, at the break, but were outscored 10-6 in the second half.

Zed Williams paced the Green and White — the Whipsnakes’ colors — with six goals on 13 shots while Brad Smith registered two goals and one assist.

As a team, the Cannons recorded 50 shots, including 34 shots on goal while tallying 12 caused turnovers. They also won 14 of 31 face-offs, thanks to Drew Simoneau, who went 13 for 29 at midfield.

Saturday’s contest marked the first time Chris Hogan suited up for the Cannons, however, according to the final statistics, the former New England Patriots wide receiver did not record a single goal or assist. But that didn’t stop him from sharing his excitement with the media following his initial game in the PLL.

“I was just excited to be out there, man,” Hogan said during his postgame press conference. “I mean, these guys are the best players in the world, and it is an amazing opportunity that I was given today to be on this team and play against these guys.”

The Cannons will be idle for the next week before returning to the field on Sunday, June 27 when they compete against the Atlas Lacrosse Club at Homewood Field in Baltimore Maryland. The game will be streamed on Peacock.